O Captain, My Captain

O Captain, my Captain. Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It's from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you're slightly more daring, O Captain my Captain.

O Captain, My Captain. Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It’s from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you’re slightly more daring, O Captain, My Captain.

As I stood on my desk, I looked around…I noticed I was completely alone. I looked up and started to cry. I thought about him: Robin Williams. I thought about his life and what it meant to me, and to so many others around me. I remembered the first time I saw him…as a quirky alien named Mork who made me laugh. So often I thought of him as a comedian, and forgot about all the other things he was to not only me but to so many others around the world.

A few months ago I sat in the living room with my best friend of nearly 15 years and watched a movie that changed my way of thinking so many years ago: Dead Poets Society. That movie not only changed my way of thinking, but as I look back now I realize it changed my life. It brought me down a new and more exciting and challenging path. A path of words and ideas. A path that lead me to LOVE something most kids my age found “foreign” at the time: poetry and literature. His performance and passion lead me to sincerely believe what he said…”no matter what ANYBODY tells you…words and ideas CAN change the world.” I still believe that today. And I truly believe he believed that as well.

So, as I thought about him…I cried. I sobbed. And then I called out to him:

O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN! 

I looked at the doorway…half expecting him to be standing there with a smile and a nod before he walked out for good. In my mind, he was there. He smiled. He nodded. And in my heart I heard him say,

The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play GOES ON and YOU may contribute a verse. What will your verse be, Nikki Powers? What will your verse be??

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